I know I’ve gone radio silent the past month due to a mixture of work and writing burnout. However not at least dropping a few words about the latest from one of my favorite artists would be a pretty terrible thing.
Autumn Eternal displays Panopticon’s knack for creating stunning folk/black metal with majestic atmospheres realized to a level I’ve yet hear from the one-man band. Incorporating things like choral vocals and keys, a heavier focus on melodies, and a slight scale back on the bluegrass elements makes this album a very fluid, well-crafted affair. Each track carries its own personality and the small bump up in sound quality does help the record brandish more of a punch. And as usual, Austin Lunn’s lyrics are absolutely beautiful.
Maybe I’ll return at some point to write up a full review, but until then, don’t hesitate a moment in giving Autumn Eternal a listen/purchase. Enjoy!!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 11 Sep 2015
Length: 42 Minutes
Previous Albums: Show No Mercy (1983); Hell Awaits (1985); Reign In Blood (1986); South Of Heaven (1988); Seasons In The Abyss (1990); Divine Intervention (1994); Undisputed Attitude (1996); Diabolus In Musica (1998); God Hates Us All (2001); Christ Illusion (2006); World Painted Blood (2009)
Location: United States
I didn’t realize that it had been so long since Slayer’s “World Painted Blood” album back in ’09. I went to look back and see if we reviewed it, but Metal State didn’t exist back then. So, this is our first ever review of a Slayer album. Looks like a retro-review is due.
Back in the day…or a long time ago in the late 80s, early 90s listening to Slayer meant you crossed the line as a metal fan. I wasn’t keen to what was going on in Europe as a teenager (except for Helloween), but for American standards listening to and loving Slayer meant that you were full-blown metalhead and there was is no coming back from that. It was a one-way ticket to hell and I was in the front row. Slayer was a more extreme level than the rest of the Big Four and being a fan was taken seriously. Seeing a Slayer show in a small club was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had. On another note, I remember cutting school just to buy their live “Decade of Aggression” album with my buddy…we were such rebels, not! Just die-hard geeks. Anyway, owning Slayer material, going to their pummeling shows (10 of them), and trying to interpret their lyrics was time consuming, but time well spent. Read the rest of this entry →
It isn’t too often a metal band get sponsored by the United Services Organizations (USO) to play free shows on military installations. I am not saying it never happens, but it’s rare and even rarer that I get to be part of the event. Hellyeah was the sponsored band of the evening and kids were not allowed at the Yokota Air Base, Japan, venue. It was probably a good thing since it was beyond loud. Spinal Tap would say it was #11 loud. I couldn’t care less about all of Chad Gray’s F-bombs he was politely asked not to say, but damn it was one of the loudest shows I have ever been to. My lovely wife was my date and I think she walked away a fan. Yep, she just validated that statement and followed up with stating that she thought the show was well-played, Tom Maxwell did a great job with all that southern twang in his guitar, and that Chad Gray was a really good, active frontman. I can certainly confirm that. I got tired watching him and that says a lot about his presence on stage. The dude is a mover! Read the rest of this entry →
Label: Lorna Vista Records (USA), Spinefarm/Rise Above (Europe)
Release Date: Aug. 21st, 2015
Genre: Doom Metal/Psychedelic Rock/Pop
Studio Albums: Opus Eponymous, Infestissumam
Location: Linköping, Sweden
If there’s a single band that personifies heavy metal more than Iron Maiden, fill me in. Metallica? Lars is a dweeb who sues his fans… and Lulu and angry saints. Slayer? They have become caricatures of themselves. Black Sabbath? Sharon Osborne and 1984-1990 happened. Judas Priest? Close, but lack that little something special. No, there isn’t a band out there that can out metal Iron Maiden and after 30 years of inhabiting the embodiment of heavy metal they still continue to be metal as fuck. For example, while recording The Book of Souls, the bands 16th studio album, Bruce Dickinson was suffering from a cancer on his tongue he reportedly got from kissing his wife in an Australian manner one too many times. He went on to record his parts on the record with golf ball sized tumors in his tongue and throat. He then kicked that cancer’s ass. Metal as fuck? I think so.
Because he wasn’t singing when he was at 100%, while still excellent, you can hear that Bruce is really pushing himself. That imperfection is what makes Iron Maiden so perfect and so metal. What is at the core of ‘having a metal state of mind’ more so than determination? Even when lambasted for records like No Prayer for the Dying and Virtual XI Steve Harris and Co. kept their cool, improved themselves, and kept on delivering countless amazing shows and a stack of great songs and albums. With a string of albums that were pretty damn good but not up to the exceedingly high Iron Maiden standards, the English gents, determined as ever, rise to the challenge and attempt to deliver their biggest album to date.
Think of those final chapters in Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel The Road (or the far inferior film adaptation if you must) where the characters find themselves upon the shore absorbed in grey. Think of trees so weak that even the touch of a beam of pure sunlight of light could disintegrate them into ash. Think of ocean waves so proud and majestic they refuse to give into the silence of an annihilated world around them as they rumble and crash into the end of their journey. Think of the sorrow of what humanity has done to this august planet. Think of the mighty rebirth of what will be when She shakes this disease (and claims Her plastic ;) ).
Using an effective and emotive combination post-hardcore/metal, doom, sludge, and black metal Hope Drone create a cyclonic atmosphere of a world gone to ash. Cloak of Ash is a miasma of despair, yet amid this there is a certain quality of beauty to be found upon its grey shores. It’s an interesting beast to say the least. Check it out! Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
For how much metal delves into histories of their nations I’ve always been rather disappointed that the Native Americans are so poorly represented. Sure, there are songs about the Native Americans and even bands that capture the atmosphere of the spiritual aspects of Native American culture, but until now nothing I’ve heard has been full on Native American; capturing the history, the nature, and the spiritualism. Having a large part of my heritage being Native American (I’m of Seneca descent and grew up in NJ, a Lenni-Lenape region) I’ve always had interest in Native American culture, in particular the music. Naturally there’s always been a desire to want to hear the traditional music and tales blended with my favorite form of music, heavy metal (obviously). So you can imagine my glee when I saw that our very own Irmelnis had posted on her Facebook wall a link to an album preview for Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen, a full on Native American metal band. Not only did they come from a label I’m really starting to come to admire quite a bit (Bindrune Records) who hosts some amazing artist like Panopticon and Falls of Rauros but also integrate Lenape and other Eastern Woodlands Native American history and lore into their music. Damn straight I went right to the Metal State inbox to see if we had gotten a promo of the record. And oh yes we did, and oh yes am I more than content and have bought the entire discography already. Where has this band been my whole life? Read the rest of this entry →
While I do greatly enjoy albums with long instrumental passages and even entire instrumental epic songs, I much prefer to have some semblance of human (inhuman?) voice integrated into my listening sessions. For me, they help keep my attention with their dynamics and also help songs, album flow, and my mind, from wandering away. Post-metal is a genre that, when not put into talented hands, often falls into a trap of letting songs meander along for too long and finds itself losing the impact of the core of the songs. It also boasts quite a few instrumental bands; more than any other genre I can think of not named neo-classical guitarstabation. For the most part, I can think of a single instrumental post-metal band that has been able to craft records that are tightly written, give that Tantric, hypnotic feeling, can crush it when necessary, and are engaging. Now, I can add another band to that list; Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster. (the other band I was referring to is none other than Pelican)
Following the rule of crafting intriguing album covers to convey well what is on the album, Wires/Dream\Wires‘ cover caught my eye on Bandcamp and I gave it a click. I was treated to an hour of absolutely engaging post-metal I simply couldn’t stop listening to until the record finished. Rich atmospheres, mesmerizing structures, grand soundscapes, and a touch of Tool bombarded my ears and left me captivated. I got reeled in by some outstanding tone on the instruments that is at the same time lush and breezy yet thick and crushing. And the seamless interplay woven throughout each instruments respective roles had me enthralled nonstop.
Even though there are touch of vocals on the final song of the album this is a wonderfully crafted instrumental affair you should check out even if instrumental post-metal isn’t your thing. This is gripping record that hard to pull away from once you let it sink its teeth into you and a huge highlight in the realm of post-metal for this year. If you fancy bands such as Pelican, Isis, or God is an Astronaut you owe it to yourself.
As always, give the band some money and share with your friends if you dig on the record. Let us know what you thought. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
After 2013’s Temper Temper I was a bit skeptical about a new Bullet For My Valentine album. When initial reports spread that Venom was more reminiscent of earlier BFMV, I thought it was enough of an excuse to buy new music and give it a try. In short, what I heard was accurate. The new material is much less “pop” sounding than Temper Temper. This can only be a good thing. After numerous spins, I find the first half of the album is stronger than the latter. As the album played on, my interest dwindled a little bit. However, tracks such as No Way Out, Army of Noise, and Broken really kick up the adrenaline. Worthless is one of their anger-management-I-hate-you power ballads BMFV does well. Overall, Venom is a solid BFMV album that should please long-time fans. 3.5 out of 5
Label: RCA Records
Release Date: 14 Aug 2015
Length: 58 Minutes
Previous Albums: The Poison (2005); Scream Aim Fire (2008); Fever (2010); Temper Temper (2013).
Location: United Kingdom
Since I received the promo for the debut record from Myrkur I believe I have hit a record for the amount of times I have written and then deleted my review. This is by far from saying that there is little to say about the album. In fact, there are lots to say about this groundbreaking record. I just didn’t want to fall into cliché over-emphasizing that the record is a one-Woman project nor under-emphasize a solid female voice in black metal. I didn’t want to beat the dead horse of picking on the kvlt elitists I’ve seen saying not such nice things about any black metal that isn’t Mayhem or Burzum (and then pretty much becoming no better than the elitists themselves). I also didn’t play into Myrkur’s image which forgoes sexuality but delivers some much-needed femininity because it kept turning into a diatribe for a more balanced female voice in metal and that would be better left as a separate rambling and not a review. I wanted to say how much I love the shamanistic and ethereal nature of M but that kept becoming a love letter to the finer facets of modern black metal and over-emphasizing Garm from Ulver’s involvement in the creation of the record. I wanted to quote one of my favorite The Big Lebowski lines, the one where Maude talks about ‘vagina’, but it just felt hammy. I would have liked to touch upon some of the alien and almost Lovecraftian nature of the heavier moments but just wasn’t able to clearly get my point across.
There was a lot I have to say, but lack of an angle I could commit to and some writer’s block just made me say fuck it. However, a record this good should not go unrecognized regardless of my difficulty in writing up a review nor did I want to spend so much time on something and not produce anything. So I decided to just shoot some words from the hip and post it up as one of my ever-so-famous Tales From Bandcamp posts to let you readers out there an opportunity to discover this great entry into the pantheon of black metal. Give it a listen, share it with your friends, toss some money at the artist, and let us know what you thought. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!